The Medjool is the largest date, with plump, thick, sticky flesh.
The Khadrawy is soft and moist — sometimes gooey.
The Halawy is soft and tender with a lightly chewy texture.
When palms sprout from seed, we nurture the seedlings that bear high quality fruit, called Honey dates. Part of their appeal is that since every Honey-bearing date palm is unique, the Honey date, too, varies in flavor and texture.
Our two firmer cultivars, Deglet Noor and Zahidi, have a subtler sweetness that can lean toward nutty caramel flavors, and a texture ranging from quite tender to firm and chewy. These dates maintain their shape when chopped into a salad, sauté, or dough, or filled with nuts or cream cheese. Due to their lower moisture content, Deglet Noor and Zahidi dates are only minimally sticky and last longer without refrigeration, compared to moister dates.
At the khalal stage of maturity, the still-ripening fruit of other date cultivars is highly astringent (imagine the puckering sensation of alum or an unripe persimmon). With its lower levels of tannins, the khalal Barhi is not only edible at this stage but is prized by those who have acquired a taste for the crunchy yellow fruit's unique combination of light sweetness and mild astringency.
As it continues to ripen, the Barhi becomes increasingly moist and sweet as the firm yellow flesh yields to melting caramel. We especially enjoy the interplay of contrasting flavor, texture, and mouthfeel of these 'half-and-half' Barhi dates.
The second photo above shows the Barhi nearing the end of its rutab stage, with its once-yellow firmness softened into an amber cloud.
Barhis are available each August into September at farmers markets and for shipping within the US by special order.